If a third degree tear is left unrepaired, a number of symptoms will soon arise. In this article we explore the symptoms of an unrepaired perineal tear.
3rd degree tears
A third degree tear is a type of perineal injury that can be sustained during the vaginal delivery of a baby.
It is not uncommon for women to tear during childbirth, although the severity of the injury can vary dramatically. Medical practitioners have therefore devised a system of describing the extent of the tear, which will be classified as a first, second, third or fourth degree tear. These can be described as follows:
- First degree tear: laceration of the vaginal epithelium or perineal skin only
- Second degree tear: involvement of the perineal muscles but not the anal sphincter.
- Third degree tear: disruption of the anal sphincter muscles, which is further subdivided into:
- Grade 3a: less than 50% thickness of external sphincter torn
- Grade 3b: more than 50% thickness of external sphincter torn
- Grade 3c: internal sphincter torn also
- Fourth degree tear: a third degree tear with disruption of the anal epithelium.
Symptoms of an unrepaired third degree tear
A third degree tear should be diagnosed and properly repaired shortly after the birth. However, there are times when the injury is not identified – usually because an examination is not performed or the tear is missed during an examination. There are also times when the wrong technique is used to suture a third degree tear, causing the repair to fail.
If a third degree tear is not repaired, a woman will soon develop problems, namely because of a defect in her anal sphincter. Symptoms will vary according to the severity of the damage, but will normally include:-
- Faecal urgency, i.e. being unable to hold a bowel motion for very long
- Faecal leakage
- Faecal smearing
- The inability to control flatus (wind)
- Faecal incontinence
- Pain, especially during sex
Often these symptoms will prompt a woman to seek medical assistance, after which a missed third degree tear will be diagnosed. Treatment can then be provided, but this will not be as effective as a repair carried out shortly after birth. This means that the symptoms of an unrepaired third degree tear can be permanent.
Claiming compensation for an unrepaired third degree tear
If you are suffering complications as a result of an unrepaired third degree tear, you could be entitled to pursue a claim against the medical practitioner or hospital responsible. This enables you to obtain compensation for the damage you have wrongfully experienced. Contact us today to find out more.
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